Georgie Twigg: GB Hockey Player
Georgie Twigg is something of a modern day superwoman.
A professional hockey player with a ‘back up’ career in law, the feisty forward already has Olympic bronze and Commonwealth silver medals under her belt – and is hungry for more. Now back in full-time training following Glasgow 2014, we caught up with Georgie to find out how she is making such waves in the male dominated worlds of sport and the City. We defy you not to dig out your gym skirt…
My Little Black Book: Georgie, you’re the poster girl of British hockey who shot to our attention when you aided Team GB to a bronze medal at London 2012, aged only 21. Where did it all begin?
Georgie Twigg: Like most young children I loved all sports and played pretty much everything. I was even in my brother’s cricket team! I started playing hockey at St Mary’s School aged 7 and went on to play for Lincoln Hockey Club Ladies team aged 12. Hockey started to become more serious for me when I attended Repton School and had Martin Jones as my coach. From there I went on to play for Derbyshire, Midlands and subsequently England U16s.
MyLBB: Off the pitch, you’re a law graduate, due to take up a training contract at international law firm Bird & Bird. What attracted you to a legal career? Do you see any similarities between law and hockey?
GT: I’ve always been interested in how legal issues affect all areas of life. In the last few years I’ve been fascinated to see how sports law has grown significantly. I believe this is due to more money in sport and the growing demands for professionalism and commercialism.
I do feel very privileged to have been offered a training contract with Bird & Bird, especially given how understanding of my hockey they’ve been. There are so many skills and traits you learn from being a sportsperson that translate into the workplace, not least teamwork, performing under pressure and leadership skills.
MyLBB: The Glasgow Commonwealth Games was full of highs and lows, both for you personally and for the England team. Describe your experience of the Games for us.
GT: It certainly was a bit of a roller coaster! I thought Glasgow did a fantastic job hosting the Games and it was really nice that family and friends could come up and show their support. For me personally, getting injured in the first minute of the first game was not ideal and unfortunately I had to sit out the following game as well. But thankfully, with the help of a few painkilling injections, the doctor and physio got me back playing. We’d had a difficult summer leading up to the Commonwealths, so beating New Zealand in the semi-final, after a penalty shoot out, was a feeling I won’t forget for a while!
Playing Australia at 8pm in the Commonwealth final was a special moment but sadly one I’m still a bit heartbroken about. Australia have been a team at the top of their game for the last 12 months and were definitely favourites yet, after a fantastic performance, we were 1-0 up with a minute to go – the gold medal was there for the taking. With 11 seconds on the clock they equalised and we then went on to lose on penalties! A silver medal was a great achievement but getting so close to that gold did leave us feeling deflated.
Overall, though, we had a brilliant time at the Games and being a part of a multi-sport event is a very unique and exciting experience.
MyLBB: Oh Georgie, we certainly lived those penalties with you! Heart in mouth stuff, but you and the England girls have so much to be proud of. Now, representing our country is something most of us can only dream of. How do you feel when pulling on your GB or England strips?
GT: It’s always a very proud moment putting on my England or GB shirt. I still remember getting my first England shirt with Twigg on the back and being so excited!
MyLBB: We bet! So, how did you juggle the demands of being an elite athlete and a law student?
GT: I’m not going to lie, it was difficult at times. Bristol University were fantastic in allowing me to split my finals over two years and podcasted all my lectures, and I would just go back on a Friday for my seminars. It did mean there was a lot of individual responsibility on me to get everything done, but I just had to be very organised and couldn’t leave things to the last minute like a lot of my peers!
In a way I quite enjoyed the fact that hockey gave me an escape away from the studying – and vice versa.
MyLBB: Very impressive, Georgie. Thinking back to 2012, few of us failed to be moved during the Olympics by GB hockey captain, Kate Richardson-Walsh, who played on despite sustaining a fracture to her jaw. Who do you admire most in sport and why? What do you think makes an inspirational leader?
GT: Growing up I had sporting heroes like everyone else – mine were Johnny Wilkinson and David Beckham – but there was never really anybody that I aspired to be like. However, I have been so lucky that my whole England and GB career has been played with Kate as captain. She really is an inspirational leader on and off the pitch. She wears her heart on her sleeve, works tirelessly to make sure that everything is right for the squad, is hard as nails when she needs to be but can be emotional like the rest of us at other times and, of paramount importance, has a commanding presence on the pitch.
MyLBB: Do you think women’s sport gets enough coverage?
GT: I think it’s a real shame that women’s sport doesn’t get more column inches or air time. Only 7% of media coverage is devoted to women’s sport, yet British sportswomen are succeeding in so many different fields. It was great to see the England women’s cricket and rugby teams doing so well, but I do think a lot of the reporting is just a token effort by the national press.
MyLBB: Before a game, do you have any quirky rituals or superstitions?
GT: We’re quite a superstitious team, so if we win the first match we then have to do everything the same for the next one: sitting in the same place in the changing room, or wearing the same undersocks, for example.
Personally, I also like to ring my Dad before and after a game, and obviously always take my time doing my hair and make-up.
MyLBB: Girl after our own heart… When you’re not playing hockey, how do like to spend your time or relax?
GT: I currently live in London so there’s always lots of places to visit and things to do. I love spending time with my friends and there’s nothing better than a girlie night in.
MyLBB: We concur! As a professional athlete, diet is key, and we read that you’re the face of British Asparagus… Do you have any healthy recipes you can share with My Little Black Book readers? How about any foodie weaknesses? (We won’t tell your coach, promise.)
GT: Diet is definitely very important for us and I love good food and to cook well. My new favourite toy is my blender; I’ve been making some great breakfast smoothies which are so quick and easy. The best recipe I’ve found is Greek yoghurt, frozen berries, banana, cinnamon, almond milk and a teaspoon of peanut butter. Delicious!
My weakness is my sweet tooth, which I blame my mother for! I do try to be good but sometimes you just need a bit of chocolate…
MyLBB: So true! Georgie, it’s been great talking to you and learning how much you’ve already achieved, both on and off the pitch, but what’s next? What are you most looking forward to?
GT: Coming up we’ve got the Champions Trophy in Argentina, but our biggest thing is the Olympic Qualifiers next year in Valencia and everything is currently geared towards that. I’m also really looking forward to the EuroHockey Championships as they’re being held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London in August 2015 and having another major tournament on home soil will be fantastic.
Tickets to support Georgie and the GB girls at the EuroHockey Championships are now on sale at www.eurohockey2015.co.uk. And to learn more about Georgie and her hockey career to date, please visit www.georgietwigg.com and @georgietwigg, where you can join 13.7k fans and follow Georgie on the road to Rio.
Georgie was interviewed by Victoria Smith and Mimi Swaby
Image Credits: Ady Kerry